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Everything You Need to Know About Thursday’s Democratic Debate

Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders will meet face-to-face for the first time since Sanders's win in New Hampshire.

Timothy A. Clary/Getty Images

Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton will meet for the first time since the New Hampshire primary at the sixth Democratic debate on Thursday, February 11, at 9:00 p.m. EST. The event will be hosted by PBS at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, with Gwen Ifill and Judy Woodruff moderating. For live updates throughout the debate, follow along at the New Republic’s blog Minutes.

After losing to Sanders by over 20 percentage points in New Hampshire, Clinton is now tasked with retaining the support of black and Latino voters. While both Iowa and New Hampshire are majority white (92 and 94 percent, respectively), the next two primary states, Nevada and South Carolina, have much more diverse electorates, which could turn the tide for Clinton. Sanders, no doubt, will be looking for ways to reach out to those constituencies.

Both candidates can also be expected to continue touting their progressive credentials, a major topic in the last debate and town hall events. Sanders’s electability in a national election and his lack of foreign policy experience remain major points of concern for voters that Clinton could point to if she goes on the offensive.

While Wisconsin’s primary is still a way’s away, on April 5, the state’s deep political divisions make it significant as a debate host. State-focused questions could refer to labor disputes, Republican Governor Scott Walker, and voter ID laws. Clinton currently holds a small lead over Sanders in the state, though it has been dwindling in the past few weeks.

To get you up to speed before the debate, here’s what New Republic writers have been writing about the candidates in the past week.

Hillary Clinton

The former secretary of state has the support of a majority of black voters, but she shouldn’t take it for granted, wrote Meaghan Murphy. She’s betting on Flint to help her, Rebecca Leber explained. Leber also noticed Clinton shifting left on climate. Her ties to Wall Street could still prove to be a problem for her, said Elizabeth Bruenig, as could the War on Drugs, said Donna Murch. We might see some major shakeups in her senior campaign staff soon, noted Leber. And while stumping for his wife, Bill Clinton rained his own brand of fury down on Bernie Sanders’s supporters, said Ryu Spaeth.

Bernie Sanders

The Vermont senator has the overwhelming support of young women, and Bruenig theorized why. Resident Young Person Clio Chang also explained why he’s doing so well with millennials. He’s figured out a smart way to attack Clinton without actually attacking her, added Jeet Heer. He spent his New Hampshire victory speech giving airtime to democratic socialism, wrote Bruenig. And while he recently won the endorsement of Ta-Nehisi Coates, as Emma Foehringer Merchant noted, he needs to talk about voting rights in order to make real inroads with black voters, said Jamil Smith. Oh, and did you know he’s pretty impressive at hoops? He also showed up recently on Saturday Night Live. And whether or not he wins the nomination, his brand of progressivism is the future of the Democratic Party, Heer said.